ISTANBUL — Produce markets were allowed to open Saturday across Turkey as the country’s strictest lockdown continues amid an economic downturn with double-digit inflation.
The markets, or “bazaars,” are integral to Turkish food culture. Producers bring their fruits and vegetables to nearly every neighborhood on set days of the week.
The full lockdown that began in late April and is set to last until May 17 has curtailed this tradition and limited it to Saturdays in designated marketplaces.
Idris Taka, a vendor selling vegetables at an open-air market in Istanbul on Saturday, says he has taken a financial hit. “We could work four to five days a week and now we can work one day out of 17 days,” he said.
Critics have said the Turkish government’s measures to fight a surge in cases have been inconsistent and impractical. Residents have been ordered to stay at home, but millions of people are exempt from the lockdown and continue to work in factories, hospitals, agriculture and tourism, among other sectors. Foreign tourists are also exempt.
Prices continued climbing in April with year-to-year inflation hovering above 17%.
Grocery stores and supermarkets are open but are not allowed to sell nonessential times, including alcohol, electronics, clothing or stationery. They can sell food and hygiene products.